Visibility (or lack thereof) is something the entire bisexual community struggles with. However, bisexual men are hardly ever spoken about or spoken to.
In honor of Bisexual Visibility Day (September 23), CASSIUS spoke to bisexual men to hear their experiences and what they want the world to know.
Editor’s note: Many of these stories have been edited for clarity and brevity. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of contributors.
1 Coming into Their Sexuality Wasn’t Clear-Cut
“I assumed that I was straight until I realized that I wasn’t, because everyone else did. Upon coming to terms for the first time with my same-gender attraction, I had a lot of doubts as to what my identity was. Bisexuality was never visible to me; I was barely ever told that it existed, much less was it ever affirmed. I understood bisexuality strictly as being attracted to men and women evenly. I didn’t fit into that box. Over time, I’ve come to understand bisexuality as an umbrella term of sorts that means different things to different people, but in a nutshell, means having some sort of sexual and/or romantic attraction to more than one gender. I now feel comfortable identifying myself as bisexual, and I’m out to quite a lot of my friends and colleagues, which is true only because I’ve intentionally immersed myself into a lot more queer spaces, both personally and professionally.” – Keenan
2 The Stigma Affects Their Livelihood
“I’ve had a talk show on SiriusXM for over 10 years now and I have always been completely open and honest about myself there. When I came out as bisexual on my show, I know that it sadly affected my brand, but I don’t care. The amount of people who have reached out to me and told me that my honesty gave them the courage to come out and be themselves, that’s worth it to me. I am proud to support the LGBTQ community. I also know my being so open is off-putting to some, but this is who I am and I’m not hiding.” – Jason
3 Having Supportive Friends and Partners Can Be Life-Saving
“I had been going through a major anxiety and depressive bout, having just moved into a house and worrying about money with my lovely fiancée (now wife). I think somewhere in there my brain finally had enough and went, ‘F*ck it, we’re here, we’re dealing with this, too.’
I’d always had thoughts every so often about guys, but I brushed them off. I was straight. I’d only ever dated women. I was getting married to a woman I loved. After a few days of thinking about it and a few emotional breakdowns (isn’t heteronormativity fun?) I heard myself think, ‘What if I’m bi?’ I never questioned if I was gay, but bi felt more and more like a label that fit, something I was comfortable in. I honestly wasn’t sure it was real until I sat down with my best friend, who is bi, and said it out loud. I couldn’t even look at her. I worried she’d think I wasn’t, that I wasn’t ‘bi-enough.’ But she grabbed me and pulled me into a hug, and just held me for a few minutes, and told me she loved me and was proud of me, and I’m sure I cried and told her I loved her for saying that and how much I needed that affirmation.
Right away life was better. I came out of my funk, I told her girlfriend, and my wife and a few very close friends, and for a while it was constantly on my mind. This is me. I’m bi. I’m still me, but it’s something new. My friends made me a card about being my true self and how proud of me they were. And now it’s just part of me, and I’m so happy I had people there for me.” – Elliot
4 There’s Pressure To “Pick a Side”
“There is definitely a stigma about bisexual men being confused, perverts, unclean and the like. I think that people who identify with either side of the spectrum really don’t understand us. Our straight friends think we are gay and the gay friends think we don’t know we are gay yet. I don’t think there will ever be a time that bisexuals are accepted. It’s a gray area that only people who identify understand. It is nice to be open about saying, ‘That guy is really hot!’ It is comfortable to tell your partner that you love this or that with men in bed and she says, ‘I do too!’ But as a society, we aren’t at that level of understanding. Maybe one day, we’ll attain the same visibility that gay people have.” – Rich